To the Working Group on Arbitrary Detention
Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights
United Nations Office at Geneva
8-14 avenue de la Paix, 1211 Geneva 10,
Date: 12th October 2007
Subject: Urgent Appeal of Arbitrary Detention of Mr. Lokman Najem Ahmad
The Iraqi Turkmen Human Rights Research Foundation, known as ‘SOITM’, is an institute with a focus on human rights and democracy. It maintains regular contact with the Middle East academics, international press, policy makers and the Human Rights organizations to represent the Turkmen of Iraq and assist the democratization process and the spread of civil society culture in Iraq.
This communication relates to serious and ongoing concerns about the arbitrary detention of member of the Iraqi Turkmen Front of the Mosul Region, Mr. L. N. Ahmad.
On 9 July 2007, the Kurdish security forces arrested Mr. L. N. Ahmad at the Khabur Frontier Door between Turkey and Iraq. No warrant or decision from the public authorities was given at his arrest nor given to the lawyer in charge of the case.
He remained in the Kurdish Security Prison for about a month. During his interrogation, which lasted for about a month, he recounted the continuous exposure to persecution by cables and hoses on his body and of the use of boxes on his face.
Thereafter, Mr. L. N. Ahmad was transferred to al- Zarga prison in Duhok and he is still in this prison. In al-Zarga prison his family was allowed weekly visit him.
Mr. Ahmad’s family is concerned about the handling of the trial of Mr. Ahmad due on the 25th October 2007 as the lawyers out of three Iraqi governorates under Kurdish Administration (Erbil, Duhok and Sulaymania) are not allowed by the Kurdish Authorities to handle trials in the courts. Henceforth, Mr. Ahmad’s family referred to a Kurdish Lawyer from Duhok city to handle the case, but are concerned about his attention to the case.
Until now, no official documents have been issued from the Kurdish Authorities about the arrest, the detention and the procedures.
The Turkmen are the third largest ethnic group in Iraq after the Kurds and Arabs. The number of Turkmen is estimated at more than 10% of the Iraqi population. They live in the provinces of north and middle of Iraq: Mosul, Erbil, Kerkuk, Salah al-Din, Diyala, Baghdad and Kut. They are distinct in language and culture from both their neighbors, the Arabs and Kurds. Yet, the Turkmen are continuously denied political rights and systematically faced assimilation. Iraq has been a fertile ground for arbitrary detentions, and the Turkmen have suffered tremendously from this trend.
SOITM condemns the blatant disregard of human rights, including the frequent use of arbitrary detention, in Iraq and Turkmen regions and therefore hereby appeals to Your organization to:
- Urge the Kurdish authorities, Coalition Provisional Authority and Iraqi government authorities in Baghdad to free Mr. L. N. Ahmad until any form of legitimate and recognized form of warrant or decision explaining the detention is offered;
- Closely observe the processes of the trial of Mr. Ahmad on the 25 October 2007 in Duhok, Iraq to ensure a fair trial according to international legal standards;
- Urge all authorities in the region to immediately halt further persecution of the Turkmen community; and
- Remind all authorities in the region of their obligations under internationally recognised standards of Human Rights.
I hope you will be able to offer due consideration to the request contained in this letter, and I take this opportunity to offer You the assurances of our highest appreciation.
Dr. Sheth Jerjis
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